A month ago, Bridge Music Academy had launched ‘The Racist Cover’ – a special version of a song played on a piano or keyboard without using the black keys. The idea was to sensitize young minds about racism. The music school held a piano class where a group of kids were asked to play a popular song, and other kids were asked to identify the song.
The poor kids were at their wit’s end. The group then played the song again, using the black keys that were missing the first time. This time they were quick; the popular song was ‘Black or White’ by Michael Jackson.
Without the black keys, there was no harmony. Hence, “Racism = No harmony.”
The campaign supported by Culture Fox, an Indo-European community of art connoisseurs and travellers, and Roland was conceptualized by Dentsu Webchutney. The Racist Cover enabled people to raise their voice against racism, one could share a song without using the black keys hashtagging #TheRacistCover.
“The Racist Cover is so simple that anyone can understand it, even a five-year-old,” chief creative technologist, Dentsu Webchutney, Gurbaksh Singh had said about the concept, while stating that the agency is ‘creating many innovations to advance the idea further.’
Well, enter ‘The Racist Keyboard,’ a keyboard that cannot play a perfect harmony- it only plays The Racist Cover of a song. This special keyboard has been created with no black keys at all by Dentsu Webchutney Innovation Lab, as a manifestation of the campaign’s central thought “Racism = No Harmony.”
A digital keyboard has 88 keys: 52 white and 36 black. The Racist Keyboard has no black keys. It only has 52 white keys. Normally, the white keys have space to accommodate the black keys. To build the keyboard, special white keys were created with no space for the black keys. The keyboard has been launched through a two-minute web film showcasing Aman Bathla, World’s Fastest Pianist playing the famous song from Titanic, My Heart Will Go On.
The Racist Cover of My heart will go on distorts its beauty, thus emphasizing “Racism = No harmony.”
The Racist Keyboard is available to musicians for concerts, tours and gigs. It will also be displayed at schools, colleges, music academies, museums and public places. “Our aim is to touch lives and make a difference and we are making it possible through technology.” Gurbaksh said.
The beauty of this campaign lies in its simplicity. How deeply hardwired the harmful effects of racism are, and how amazingly simple the explanation of it is. The Racist Keyboard that can only play the Racist cover of a song, is simple put, “a tech innovation with a heart.” Anybody of any age, and any musical inclination is immediately sensitized. The use of technology to drive home the message is what makes this simple campaign a truly remarkable one.
Summed up simply in the words of Vishal Sagar, Associate Creative Director, Dentsu Webchutney, The Racist Cover is how racism sounds. The Racist Keyboard is how racism looks.” The campaign has the perfect blend of tech and creativity to achieve the desired objective.